Rebalance body & mind in the Algarve: Longevity Cegonha Country Club
Words by Sally Meeson
When our hectic lifestyles leave us feeling exhausted, unhealthy and generally out of balance, escaping to somewhere sunny for a bit of TLC sounds like the dream. But with so much talk of “wellness” these days, plus endless retreats around the globe, knowing where to start can feel a little daunting.
The Longevity Cegonha Country Club aims to combat that problem. Situated in the Algarve’s Golden Triangle, surrounded by the lush greenery of the Vilamoura protected area, it offers a destination for those looking to “dip their toes in a wellness retreat”. And with specially designed programmes – whether you want to simply relax or try more high impact options – it promises to target each guest’s individual needs.
On arrival at Longevity I was shown to a large, two bedroom suite. With wooden floors, pretty white furnishings and French doors opening onto a garden with woodland views, I felt like I’d escaped to a peaceful little cottage.
Once settled into my calming surroundings it was time to sample the nutritious food on offer at the retreat’s ‘Pure Cafe’. Essentially a clear glass box by the swimming pool, flooded with light and the surrounded greenery, the building makes you feel brighter simply on entering.
For lunch I chose a refreshing gazpacho soup made with watermelon, cucumber and purple onion, garnished with basil and chilled with ice cubes. This was followed by poached egg and chilli on a bean burger with a fig and walnut salad.
With organic food sourced locally, the meals are clean but incredibly tasty. As part of a variety of optional programmes you can also try “liquid diet” days: seven ‘meals’ per day crafted by nutritionists consisting of juices and soups. But if you’re looking to eat filling meals, and even indulge a little on your holiday, there is plenty of delicious food as well as organic wines and a variety of desserts and ice creams.
As well as making you feel healthier on the inside Longevity offers a variety of spa and wellness packages to help you look better on the outside. These range from options such as “Feel De-Stressed & Rebalanced” through to “Detox”, “Bootcamp” and “Insta-Body”. Their experts also pride themselves on continuously researching the latest innovations in beauty and wellness… which means their treatments can sometimes feel a bit clinical.
After lunch I was given a personal wellness evaluation, where a nutritionist put my basic data such as age, height and weight into a machine called a ‘Body Composition Analyser’. Then after standing barefoot on it for a few seconds it was able to read things like my fat mass, muscle mass and “metabolic age” – which indicates your body’s age in terms of general health rather than years. The team then use this information to suggest nutrition, exercise and treatments for your stay… as well as longer term lifestyle changes.
But alongside the science there’s also plenty of opportunities for pampering at Longevity. As well as a large outdoor swimming pool with a heated external hydro jet pool you also get the full spa experience. And the team’s commitment to pushing the boundaries is still abundantly evident here.
As well as relaxing in the steam room you can push buttons to pump out peppermint or eucalyptus aromatherapy. There’s an Epsom Salt Room where you relax in a deckchair while watching a salt wall pulsate with different colours. And their sauna has an infrared option, as well as a large glass front which makes you feel like you’re sitting in the forest outside.
As for the treatments they’re a little out of the ordinary too. After a wonderful sweet orange body scrub and an anti-ageing facial I sampled their (slightly more far out) “Premium Detox and Weight Loss Treatment”. There is no other way to describe this than lying in a large tube and being heated up for half an hour! However the science claims it uses “long infrared rays of organic plant origin to allow a detoxification of toxins and heavy metals”. And each session is supposed to burn up to 600 calories!
Guests are also encouraged to take part in daily ‘Body and Mind’ activities – which is where the fun and social benefits of Longevity come in. As well as joining some wonderful yoga and meditation classes (and even dabbling in some crystal healing therapy!) I enjoyed meeting other guests for hikes and bike rides around the surrounding countryside.
We were also taken on trips to the stylish Vilamoura marina, vibrant Loule market, as well as the local beaches which are just a 15 minute drive away. If your idea of a spa break is an opulent stately home with plush rooms and endless massages this might not be the place for you. But if your idea of luxury is somewhere tranquil and green with a cosy room, friendly staff and some fairly innovative treatments – then you should definitely give Longevity a try.
Longevity Cegonha Country Club offers a Classic Room from €130/£114 on a B&B basis, based on 2 people sharing.
Address: Estrada de Albufeira, 8125-507 Quarteira, Portugal
Phone: +351 289 300 850
*Images courtesy of Longevity Cegonha Country Club